Tuesday 24 October 2017

Second phone call 'left suicide nurse confused and agitated'

Victoria Ward

THE nurse who hanged herself after falling victim to a hoax phone call about Kate Windsor was warned that she had been duped just minutes later when she took a second call from the Australian disc-jockeys responsible, it has been claimed.

Jacintha Saldanha (46) died days after transferring the presenters' call to a colleague, who described the pregnant duchess's condition in detail.

One of the disc-jockeys is understood to have telephoned King Edward VII Hospital in London again within an hour of the first call, informing Ms Saldanha that they had played a prank and that the tape was about to be broadcast.

The revelation reportedly left Ms Saldanha feeling confused and agitated. The calls were made early in the morning when few senior staff would have been on duty.


Southern Cross Austereo, owners of the Sydney-based station 2Day FM, have claimed that they tried at least five times to contact the hospital to discuss the prank call before it went out on air, in accordance with industry guidelines. The hospital denied the claim.

Ms Saldanha, whose funeral will take place today in her native India, left three suicide notes for her family.

It is claimed that one note referred to the Australian presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, directly, expressing her anger at the way she had been treated.

Another note was said to have criticised staff at the hospital, where Kate was being treated for severe morning sickness, while a third detailed wishes for her funeral.

Ms Saldanha's husband, Benedict Barboza, accompanied his wife's body to her home village of Shirwa, near Mangalore, yesterday, where friends spoke of their shock.

Nurse Aileen Mathias, who completed her nursing training with Ms Saldanha, said her friend was not "easily defeated".

"She coped with the death of her father in childhood, coped with poverty and helping to support her brothers and sisters, she coped with going abroad and every challenge in life," she said.

"She was a brave, cheerful girl. But, when it came to this, she couldn't face it. Maybe the hospital didn't listen to her, who knows?"

Her funeral will take place at Our Lady of Health Church in Shirva, Karnataka, at 4pm local time, her family said.

Ms Saldanha's children described the "unfillable void" left in their lives by her death as a Mass was held at Westminster Cathedral.

Afterwards, Mr Barboza and their two children, Junal and Lisha, paid an emotional tribute to the "kind-hearted, generous and well-respected woman".

Fighting back tears, Mr Barboza said: "My wife, you were the light in my darkness, who always showed me the way forward.

"From the day we met, you always stood by me in times of hardship and happiness. I feel a part of me has been ripped out.

"Your loss is a very painful one and nobody can take that place in my life ever again. I love you and miss you forever."

Ms Saldanha's daughter Lisha (14) said: "We will miss your laughter, the loving memories and the good times we had together. The house is an empty dwelling without your presence.

"We are shattered and there's an unfillable void in our lives. We love you mum, sleep in peace and watch over us until me meet again in heaven. We will always love you."

Her son Junal (16) said: "Our mother, kind-hearted, generous and a well-respected woman in both of our lives. You were the core of the family who kept is together.


"In times of difficulty you showed us the way forward to happiness and success.

"Your priority for us was a good education and a bright future.

"You worked tirelessly to give us everything that we have today. When we achieved good grades and merit, your pat on our backs encouraged us more."

Standing outside the cathedral alongside their local MP Charlotte Leslie and MP Keith Vaz, who has been campaigning on behalf of the family, Mr Barboza said the family "could not have foreseen the unprecedented tragedy that has unfolded in our lives.

"The events of the last week have shattered our lives." (© Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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